Bikes

The 19-year-old phenom simply took his second podium at COTA – let’s see how the outdated GOATs examine

Printed: 15 Apr 2024

If you happen to’ve been uncovered to a single millisecond of MotoGP protection this season, you’ll remember that rookie sensation Pedro Acosta is doing fairly effectively. ‘Fairly’, on this case, being slang for ‘record-breakingly phenomenal’.

In solely his third spherical within the premier class, {the teenager} completed second at COTA in a spectacular race to safe a brand new document: he’s the youngest rider to realize back-to-back podiums. A document beforehand held by Marc Marquez, who tussled with Acosta for the victory earlier than tucking the entrance at flip 11 and sliding off right into a DNF.

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So Acosta’s formally the perfect MotoGP rookie, ever.

Not so quick there, inflammatory sub-header. Whereas he’s taken that specific document from Marquez, he’s acquired much more to do earlier than the quantity 31 can say he’s categorically outperformed the game’s earlier youngster prodigies: the aforementioned Marquez and Mr Valentino Rossi.

Okay, what was Rossi’s rookie season like?

As one would possibly anticipate of a residing legend who managed to make fluorescent yellow appear like the final phrase in sartorial magnificence… spectacular. 

So he was fast from the off, then?

Form of. It took 21-year-old Rossi just a few rounds to achieve a foothold within the premier class again in 2000. In actual fact, he retired from the South African season opener at an overcast Phakisa Freeway, having been swallowed by the pack on lap one, after which crashed once more a spherical later at Malaysia.

Cling on, is that this positively Valentino Rossi we’re speaking about?

That’s in all probability what the Honda execs had been saying in regards to the 250cc world champion too, when his again was turned. Nevertheless it didn’t take lengthy for him to regulate to that NSR500 and ease the furrowed brows in his pit field.

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He lastly took his first chequered flag at spherical three in Suzuka, ending p11 to register his first 500cc world championship factors.

Then it appeared to actually click on for Rossi, who rode his Nastro Azzurro Honda to a maiden podium at Jerez in spherical 4 and was not often nudged off it thereafter. In a 16-round debut championship, Rossi completed on the rostrum ten occasions, selecting up well-known wins at Donington and Rio de Janeiro.

Ultimately he completed runner-up within the championship to Kenny Roberts Jr, having, er, ‘loved’ some spirited battles with he and third-place finisher Max Biaggi all through the season.

Nevertheless it took him 4 rounds to get on the rostrum?

It did. On a motorcycle usually thought of way more aggressive than Acosta’s Tech3 GasGas KTM, too, however let’s not dwell on that time an excessive amount of or the Rossi followers will begin lobbing their empty cans of Monster at us.

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Good concept. How did rookie Marquez examine?

Nicely that is much more awkward for the Rossi acolytes, as a result of… Marquez was completely phenomenal, instantly. 

His detractors can be fast to level out that 20-year-old Marquez hopped straight onto a Repsol Honda in his rookie yr. Not only a manufacturing unit crew, with all the event and finances advantages that include it, however the manufacturing unit crew.

Even manner again within the days of Mick Doohan and ever after, the most secure wager you would make on this sport was seeing a Repsol Honda preventing for victory. It was a certainty as assured as some Spanish illustration on the grid or a commentator getting a bit too enthusiastic about an overtake.

Mainly, Marquez acquired given the dream ticket.

… after which cashed in that dream ticket to complete third in his very first race, and win a spherical later on the Circuit of the Americas, aged 20.

That should be a document, certainly?

It’s. Marquez nonetheless holds the title of youngest ever race winner within the premier class. Acosta has a few rounds left to take it away from him, and you’ll anticipate Marquez to make his Ducati as huge as a grain barge ought to he discover himself with Acosta in pursuit within the imminent races to guard that accolade.

How did he comply with up that win?

With a P2 at Jerez, then 13 extra podiums in an 18-round championship. He took six rookie victories, and received the championship on the first time of asking, pipping a flabbergasted Jorge Lorenzo by 4 factors.

Nicely why are we even having this debate, then?

That is the place we circle again to that unique level: he did occur to be using a Repsol Honda. It was a confirmed race-winning machine in 2012 and had loved the formidable growth nous of messrs Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner earlier than Marquez hopped on one in 2013.

Rossi’s Nastro Azzurro Honda was technically a satellite tv for pc crew, though it did get pleasure from full manufacturing unit help in actuality, so that you would possibly contemplate it a Repsol Honda in disguise. Against this, previous to Acosta’s arrival the Tech3 GasGas crew had solely cracked the highest 5 as soon as since racing beneath that branding.

So what’s extra spectacular: over-performing on an unfancied bike, or instantly doing the enterprise on tried-and-tested, race-winning equipment?

Is that the sound of Monster cans hurtling by means of the air?

Yeah, let’s leg it.

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